Justin’s Weekly Swindon Adver Article – 16th November 2018

It’s always a challenge to write a weekly article in the midst of fast-paced events in Westminster.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister secured agreement for the next steps on the road to Brexit.

As with all negotiations, there have had to be compromises, but as someone who voted leave I firmly believe that this deal strikes the important balance of delivering on the result of the referendum and acting in the national interest.

Calm heads are now needed. For all of the hyperbole, this is the best option to take back control of our money, our laws, and our borders whilst unlocking the opportunities of the growing global economy – vital for our future prosperity.

That is exactly what I voted for in the referendum two years ago.

Over the past few months, we have had calls from some who have suggested different options, however none of these can draw enough support to pass.

The Brexit deal the Prime Minister has secured delivers the democratic will. It also allows for sensible & pragmatic transitional arrangements – vital for trade, jobs & growth – which are crucial for major local businesses like Honda & BMW to adapt. Crucially the deal also reflects the challenges of the Parliamentary numbers.

That is why people who truly believe in Brexit should back it.

This week has also been Parliament Week; a celebration of our Parliament and its history.

Throughout the week there have be a number of activities in Westminster and around the country – including here in Swindon – to mark the occasion.

Last night I hosted a special event in my Community Office for local Brownies, with the aim of getting them inspired about politics.

These events are always interesting & exciting both for me and the young people, who were given the opportunity to pass their very own Parliamentary Bill. I do similar hugely enjoyable events with local schools and other youth organisations; making them as fun and interactive as possible.

The group selects a law they’d like to change, a Queen and a Clerk, then split into the House of Lords and House of Commons; taking on the roles of Lords & MPs.

What follows is always very lively demonstration of how a Bill is passed between the two Houses – almost as noisy and impassioned as in Westminster  – and in the end the Bill is passed with the ‘Queen’ giving Royal Assent.

I was particularly pleased that the Brownies took the opportunity to put their questions to me; finding out about life as an MP and my role as a Minister, as well as discussing laws which they would like to see introduced.

Not only does this year mark the 100th anniversary of some women gaining the right to vote, but also the 90th anniversary of equal suffrage – the successful conclusion to a hard-fought campaign to secure all women an equal say in how the country is governed.

This year’s events present a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievement of the many women who were prepared to sacrifice their freedom to secure what is considered today to be a fundamental right for men and women.

The enthusiasm shown by the Brownies was a brilliant way to honour the women who fought to deliver equal suffrage.